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Rescues of woman and man raise hopes for others

Published: 11:40AM Wednesday February 23, 2011 Source: ONE News

A woman has been rescued from the Pyne Gould building after 25 hours in the rubble, providing a glimmer of hope amid the rising death toll.

Ann Bodkin Allen was pulled from the remains of the flattened building just before 2.30pm and into the arms of her husband Graham.

Rescue efforts are being centred on around six main sites in the CBD, with firefighters saying progress at the CTV building is very slow and some resources have been redeployed to the Pyne Gould building.

After Allen was rescued, her husband told ONE News: "I couldn't describe it to you really. I was told to get myself down here cause she was asking for me.

"I didn't break any speed limits but I got here pretty quickly."

Christchurch mayor Bob Parker said: "She was in great spirits and there was a bit of jokin with the USAR (search and rescue) guy who was sort of standing astride her and tying her down which wasn't the greatest view and that was commented on. That was part of the reason they gave Anne some sunglasses."

Firefighters have now rescued five people from the mangled building today. Another woman pulled from the wreckage just before 11am was found under her desk.

Minutes earlier a man was pulled out. He had been spotted by rescuers perched on the twisted debris through a gap in the rubble. He was lifted out, lowered to street level, and taken to hospital.

Rescuers at the PGC building perched on the twisted debris spotted the man through a gap in the rubble.

They were animated and told ONE News that they were on the brink of rescuing someone alive.

"Rescuers standing 20 metres high on rubble, looked down and saw the man and begun clapping," he said.

The man was lifted out, lowered to street level, and taken to hospital.

It was believed at least three people are still alive in the ruins, with up to 22 unaccounted for.

Calls for help

Rescuers said earlier today they heard people in the building calling out for help through the night.

The 6.3 magnitude earthquake struck Christchurch at 12.51pm yesterday and it was shallow and close to the city centre.

Up to 120 people were reportedly pulled from various sites overnight.

Superintendent Russell Gibson said they have been receiving text messages, hearing knocks and people shouting out.

Gibson said there were little miracles right through the night with people pulled out uninjured while others had to have limbs amputated to get them out.

In a separate rescue, Angela McLeash was brought from the top of the Forsyth Barr building last night.

McLeash told TV ONE's Breakfast that she was "pretty pleased to be here today".

She said the power of the earthquake threw her from her chair. She was one of three in office at the time of the quake.

She said the group decided to "stay calm and get down the stairs".

The trip downstairs was cut short when a colleague stepped out and felt nothing.

McLeash said the group returned upstairs, called emergency services and waited it out.

She said the feeling of being lowered onto the ground by rescuers could not be described.

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  • royalcourtier said on 2011-03-14 @ 21:33 NZDT: Report abusive post

    The whole focus of this debate is wrong. There is no reason for any of these buildings to be demolished. It is not a case of which should be saved, but which should be demolished. There are few which cannot be saved. What people are missing is that if a building is demolished unnecessarily, and illegally, there won't be any insurance. Only the city can approve demolition - civil defence cannot do so.

  • Adam Chc said on 2011-03-09 @ 14:44 NZDT: Report abusive post

    As a small business based near the epicentre in Christchurch we are strugeling to survive and simply can not afford a day off. I also do not think I or my staff are reasdy for a day of mourning yet. I am surprised the govenment would even consider this, it shows how out of touch they are to the impact this is having on business and staff.

  • annej said on 2011-03-08 @ 15:09 NZDT: Report abusive post

    I must congratulate Bob Parker for his leadership and his caring nature to all people in Christchurch and his unfaultering continual contact with his people, a fine leader and the restoration of Christchurch should go through him and the council and not left to those who do not care about the uniqueness of Christchurch, sack Brownlee, send him back where he come from.

  • annej said on 2011-03-08 @ 15:04 NZDT: Report abusive post

    At a time when the suffering is entering an unacceptable time frame of two weeks, John Key throws the baby out with the bath water and states that the government will buy the land off people who have suffered so much,this is akin to pulling the rug from underneath those who are stressed,do not know their fate and have lost loved ones, more thought and empathy is needed from central govt and to deal with the bulk of the people and not just the business sector.Thoughts and prayers to all.

  • Huatoki said on 2011-03-08 @ 13:37 NZDT: Report abusive post

    As with every issue he's dealt with, Brownlee crashes in with an ill-advised and inflammatory attitude, then scuttles behind his officials and is unavailable for comment. Christchurch needs unifying, reassuring and competent leadership and Brownlee consistently fails on all three counts. We need resources, not divisiveness. If the minister cannot deliver them quickly and efficiently, he needs to go. We deserve better.

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